The Actipro Blog

All the latest UI control development news from Actipro

Call for early SyntaxEditor for WPF 2009.2 testers

The next release of SyntaxEditor for WPF, part of WPF Studio 2009.2, has a lot of major new functionality added.  A significant chunk of that deals with the addition of new text tagging and adornment layer frameworks.

What you can do to help

We’re looking for some existing SyntaxEditor for WPF customers who would like to get their hands on the latest code before it is publicly released, specifically to help us test out these new tagging and adornment features.  We’ll explain below more about what each framework provides.

If you are an existing customer and are interested in testing out the new features, please email our sales team.  Again, only do so if you plan on implementing code that uses tagging and/or adornments.

What are text tagging and adornment layers?

Text tagging is the ability to associate some data (a tag) with ranges of text.  Our built-in tagging mechanism makes it easy for you to provide tagged ranges both using virtualization and without.  An example of text tagging would be to mark certain ranges of text as parse errors.  Text tagging is a logical way of marking text, and can also be paired with adornment layers that can provide custom rendering over tagged text areas.

Adornment layers, first described in this post, are a way to render any UIElement within the text area of a SyntaxEditor.  Adornments can be ordered and sandwiched between any other adornment layers.  As an example, the caret and selection are both adornment layers.  The caret has a Rectangle that blinks to render the caret.  The selection is a complex Path.

The neat thing about tagging and adornments is that the sky is the limit on what custom rendering you can achieve in the editor.  Let’s take a quick look at some of the full source QuickStarts that will be included in the next version, all of which demo tagging and/or adornment layers.  More...

First video of SyntaxEditor for Silverlight - Syntax-highlighting code editor control

A couple months ago we make a post on our blog asking if anyone would be interested in a port of our SyntaxEditor for WPF control over to Silverlight.  We’ve had some tremendous feedback, both via comments on that posting and via e-mail, so we’ve moved forward with development on the product.

What is SyntaxEditor for Silverlight?

As many of you know, SyntaxEditor for WPF is the premier syntax-highlighting code editor control for the WPF platform.  It is being constructed with a new next-generation object model based on our years of experience with SyntaxEditor for WinForms, the market leader in the WinForms platform.  We’ve made a lot of posts about SyntaxEditor for WPF’s features in this blog.

The Silverlight version of SyntaxEditor is essentially a large subset of SyntaxEditor for WPF’s object model.  For those who have used SyntaxEditor for WPF, the entire text/parsing library is completely converted to Silverlight.  This means all the document, syntax language, parsing, etc. code works in Silverlight exactly the same as in WPF.  The UI layer is mostly the same as well.  Many of the UI features found in the WPF version are already implemented where possible in the Silverlight version.

What can I use it for?

The possibilities are endless.  Want to have a web-based source code browser where you can edit your code from anywhere right in the browser?  Want to build a web-based IDE?  Want to just use the editor in read-only mode to provide rich visualization of code?

SyntaxEditor for Silverlight would fit right into any of those conceptualizations.

Let’s see the video!

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the first video of SyntaxEditor for Silverlight.  In this video, I fire up the editor in an Internet Explorer page and do some typing and selection.  Note that syntax highlighting is being driven from a syntax language that was created with our WPF Language Designer application. 

I also have the smoke text effect enabled, which shows off the new adornment layers feature we’re currently working on.  The smoke text effect is not something you’d normally have enabled in a production application, but it is a neat example of what you can do with our adornment layer framework.


There still is a lot of work to do on the Silverlight version before it would be production-ready.  However we are trying to make some progress on it each day.  And as we add any new features to the WPF version going forward, we are adding them to the Silverlight version at the same time.

We don’t have any target release dates at this point, but keep your comments coming and we’ll continue posting more details on the control.